Effects on bone mineral density of low-dosed oral contraceptives compared to and combined with physical activity

Contraception. 1997 Feb;55(2):87-90. doi: 10.1016/s0010-7824(96)00277-6.


A cross-sectional study was designed to examine the influence of exercise compared to and in combination with low-dosed oral contraceptives (OCs) on bone mineral density (BMD). One hundred twenty-eight women (20 to 35 years of age) were assigned to four groups with respect to the years of exercise and OC intake. Influence factors were determined by a detailed questionnaire and interview. BMD for L2-4 and the femoral neck was assessed by DXA. The highest BMD values were found in the group of women characterized by long-term exercise (9.45 +/- 4.32 yr) and short use of OC (1.6 +/- 1.69 yr). No beneficial effect of exercise on BMD was found in the group with a long exercise period (10.4 +/- 4.14 yr) and long-term intake of OC (8.2 +/- 4.14 yr). Differences in mean BMD values between the two groups were significant in all regions assessed (p < 0.05). No differences in mean BMD were found in the groups with short-term exercise but long or brief histories of OC. The question arises as to whether active women taking low-dosed OC at an earlier age will develop an adequate BMD.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Adult
  • Anthropometry
  • Bone Density / drug effects*
  • Bone Density / physiology*
  • Calcium / blood
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Contraceptives, Oral / pharmacology*
  • Creatinine / blood
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Femur / drug effects
  • Femur / physiology
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / blood
  • Humans
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / drug effects
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / physiology
  • Parathyroid Hormone / blood
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Thyrotropin / blood


  • Contraceptives, Oral
  • Parathyroid Hormone
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone
  • Thyrotropin
  • Cholesterol
  • Creatinine
  • Calcium